Given the pressing needs for providing special education teachers, the urge to articulate a Catholic identity, and the ICHE goal to promote a social justice mission that corresponds closely to trends in the development of a field to educate and nurture all children, one would expect to find a substantial commitment to special education amongst ICHE.
This growth produced more scrutiny on Catholic higher education's academic offerings; as a result, ICHE grew in their ability to meet high standards in the area of academic excellence (Hellwig, 2001).
Therefore, it is timely and relevant to investigate special education teacher preparation practices in ICHE.
Thus, this paper is an exploratory and descriptive study that examines the incidence, context, and nature of special education personnel preparation programs in ICHE.
How does special education personnel preparation in ICHE respond to needs in Catholic schools and public schools?
How do the special education personnel preparation patterns of ICHE compare to national patterns?
This survey is not about teacher quality in special education personnel preparation programs in ICHE.
It examines the pattern of special education offerings in ICHE in the context of the continuum of Catholic education as well as a national picture of special education and offers recommendations for future development of related programs.
One such publication (Pettit, 2004) provided extensive demographic data about 260 ICHE.
The listing further provides both links to summative web pages called quick school profiles for each of the ICHE as well as links to each institution's individual websites.
A search of the NCCAA (2005) website for ICHE that offer academic programs in education (for the fields of size, region, and setting, "any" was selected) yielded a list of 149 institutions.
The summative webpage online search revealed that 88 ICHE offer a specialization in special education.